The UFC is banking on light heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira to continue his path of destruction at Fight Night 28 in Brazil against Ryan Bader. An impressive victory would give Teixeira his fifth consecutive UFC win and would make it 20-straight overall.
It would also leave Teixeira, the former training partner of UFC legend Chuck Liddell, as the clear choice to take on the winner of this month’s light heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones and challenger Alexander Gustafsson.
With the title shot being dangled in front of him, Teixeira seems to have been given the type of opponent that he has the potential to look spectacular against.
While Bader has been on the fringe of the top-10 rankings and has recorded wins over the likes of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, it’s some of his losses that have left him such a huge underdog. He was knocked out cold by Lyoto Machida, submitted after being manhandled by Jones, and was rocked via punches and eventually submitted by Tito Ortiz.
Bader was victorious in his last bout via a first-round submission against Vladimir Matyushenko. The Arizona State product’s key to victory would likely be utilizing his standout wrestling game to try to keep Teixeira on his back.
Even then, the Brazilian has shown he’s capable of scrambling and possesses a good submission game. It could be an early night if it ends up being a striking affair; while Bader does have a good right hand and solid power, his chin can be dented and Teixeira is a devastating banger to the head and body. In his 21 career MMA victories, 18 of them have come by a finish.
A less-than-inspiring performance by Teixeira or a shocking Bader upset would definitely leave the organization in scramble mode to try and find a plan B for the next suitable contender. Phil Davis would be a name that would come to mind, but his stock isn’t exactly soaring after that controversial decision win over Lyoto Machida at UFC 163. Also, current heavyweight Daniel Cormier has talked about a possible move to 205.
However, it’s hard to see Teixeira faltering with his career goal so close at hand. While he’s already focusing on the winner of the upcoming light heavyweight title clash, you just get the feeling that he won’t be looking past Bader.
If he does the expected and adds Bader to a UFC hit list that’s also included Kyle Kingsbury, Fabio Maldonado, Jackson and James Te Huna, then the title will be within Teixeira’s reach.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports